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Discovering resilience：Care leavers’ independent living experiences
Care leavers do have the needs of independent living, especially when their families can’t play the roles of supporters. Usually, in this situation care leavers are forced to enter the independence stage early. However, the existing researches focus more on the negative sides and difficulties of the care leavers’ independent living experiences than the strength or resilience innate in them. This study aims to provide a qualitative research to examine the care leavers’ independent living experiences and to explore how they confront the challenges and overcome the difficulties in their lives. To further demonstrate my assertions, this study targets on the seven care leavers who had received the residential replacements and had been living independently for at least two years. The main findings are as follows: 1. Care leavers seek stable lives and they show their striving attitudes in their independent living experiences. According to different leaving care and living situations, care leavers are divided into four types: ‘Moving on’, ‘Striving’, ‘Breaking the frame’ and ‘Shaky and unstable’. 2. Protective factors may affect care leavers’ strategies and development of being independent. However, care leavers can use their inner and outer strength or resources to overcome the difficulties, even though they have face various challenges. 3. Generally speaking, for the care leavers, long-term company, positive adjustment environment, and friendly independent living surroundings help them move towards a stable and positive way. According to my findings, this study provides some suggestions to improve the service system. Overall speaking, the policy and practice work should focus not only on the positive sides of the care leavers’ independent living experiences, but also on the practice of implementing the resilience perspective into the cultivation of care leavers’ protective factors or strength.
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